Monday, June 4, 2012

I Am Not Oppressed

When I was a kid, if asked the question, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" my response was usually: "Famous." Obviously I had very specific goals.

As I was growing up I would think things like, "When I have kids, I'm going to let them do [insert whatever my parents did not let me do here]." Don't get me wrong, my parents were amazing. But you always have ideas of what to do better. Like eat Pop Tarts for breakfast. Even when I was an adult and seriously thought that I didn't want children, I would still think of the things I would say or do if I had them, usually in response to how I saw others raising their kids. I was keeping a running list of how I wanted to parent, even when I didn't want to be one.

So it should have come as no surprise when one day I realized that yes, I really did want to be a mom. And not only that, but a stay-at-home mom. I wanted to watch my child grow right before my eyes, and I didn't want to miss a moment.

I will not apologize for being a SAHM, even if society thinks I should. I've gotten my fair share of hurtful comments, people who think I'm lazy or a freeloader for not providing an income. I could go into the argument that being a mom is a 24/7 job, that even if I don't get a paycheck I am still providing for my family, but that's been done and furthermore it's not my point.

Being a parent is 24/7, whether or not you work outside the home. My husband's job is not any less demanding than mine, and vice versa. We are equal partners in our marriage and in parenthood, no matter who pays the bills.

I am lucky enough to be able to stay home with my child, and that is exactly what I want to do. This is my place; this is where I feel comfortable, fulfilled, and happy. No one has the right to judge me for my choices, for my belief that as long as I am able, my place is in the home. Our society seems to have taken the stance that women are oppressed if they stay home to cook, clean, and care for their children.

I am not oppressed.

I am liberated. I am doing exactly what I feel is right for my family.

Why is this even an issue? Why do women (and the occasional man) feel the need to judge and tear each other down over differing lifestyles and choices? I love my job, as frustrating and tiring as it may be. But I also have a deep respect for the moms and dads who need or want to go to work and then come home to their families. Neither option is easy, but both are admirable and worth celebrating.

I do not deserve to be looked down upon for my choices, nor do I need a pat on the back. I, as all mothers, simply want a network of support from friends, family, and other moms. I want a shoulder to cry on when the poop hits the wall (again) and a hand to hold as my baby reaches another milestone.

How you choose to live your life may not be how I would live mine, but I will support you. I hope that you can offer me the same courtesy. The way I see it, we're all in this together.

2 comments:

  1. YES, so true. I've never quite understood the whole SAHM vs WM debate but I'm sure it all stems from insecurities on some level. Mother Guilt is huge and I think sometimes we take that guilt out on others even if deep down we are happy with our choices, I don't think we're ever entirely convinced we made the right one 100% of the time.

    Given that, you'd think we'd all collectively support one another and our varied choices the way we all want to be supported. And most of the time? I think we do. I think the support is totally out there but then those moments of being criticized seem to outweigh the good sometimes.

    :O) Isn't it wonderful when life lets us do the things we want to for our family? I also feel blessed that my husband's income allows me to stay home with my kids - though the terrible twos do sometimes make me wonder why I wanted to! haha

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think you're right; we take out our insecurities on others in the hopes that we'll feel more confident about our own choices. And honestly, I have found so much support that sometimes the whole debate seems like a non-issue. Sometimes I even forget that it's a subject of contention at all. But then you get the asshole that makes an off-the-cuff remark that lets you know their true feelings, and if it's someone that you love and respect it makes it that much harder to just let it roll off your back.

      I think what's important is that we surround ourselves with a support structure that will lift us up and remind us why we do what we do (whether that be staying at home or working outside of it) so that when that snarky comment comes along we can take a deep breath and say, "This is what makes me and my family happy. I don't expect everyone to agree, but I ask for respect for my choices and I'll respect yours."

      There were times in those first few weeks that I was practically begging to be able to go to a job - any job - just to get out of the house. I can only imagine what the twos will bring. :-)

      Delete